Christopher Paslay, a teacher at Swenson Arts and Technology High in Northeast Philadelphia, recently appeared on a Glenn Beck show about "teachers who love their jobs but are frustrated with the education system." (In my experience, that describes a good percentage of all teachers, no?)
Paslay describes himself as someone who agrees with much of what Beck believes, though he diverges from Beck on some educational issues. (“Glenn, like most journalists and talking-heads, has a more superficial understanding of public schools...”, Paslay wrote.) Hmmm...
Before the show began Paslay, who blogged about the experience here, filled out a questionnaire on key education issues. Here are some excerpts: "Education is one of the few professions in America in which policies are written and decisions are made by governing bodies outside the field. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers all govern themselves. Their panels and boards of directors are made up of other doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Not teachers, though. Politicians make the decisions when it comes to education in K-12 schools. So do researchers, think tanks, and lobbyists. Does it matter that most of these people have little to no experience teaching in a K-12 classroom? No, because they have the data and the power."
Of education unions, Paslay wrote: Teachers unions, like everything, have pros and cons. The pros are that they protect the rights of workers and ensure teachers don’t get exploited or taken advantage of by school administrators or politicians (which was the case many years ago). Another positive is that they serve as a teacher’s voice—something that isn’t given much value in American society. On the other hand, in an effort to protect rights and maintain solidarity, unions do in some cases allow bad teachers to keep their jobs. Also, they are too heavily rooted in politics. Teachers need unions that police themselves and are more balanced politically.
Paslay initially felt that Beck's show contained too much “spin” and followed the host’s “pre-set agenda,” but he eventually came around to thinking the conservative pundit was pretty fair in his treatment of the topic.
So, what would you have told Glenn Back about education? If you read Paslay's take on the experience, what did you think? Now I *know* Beck is a controversial topic, so please be civil!